Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Urgent Message On Behalf of 'Marvel Saga'

Hello. Recently, Marvel released
The Essential Marvel Saga Volume One in trade paperback format, a compilation of the Peter Sanderson series that retold the history of the Marvel Universe in chronological order, from the first flight of the Fantastic Four up through the coming of Galactus. Unfortunately, many retailers have failed to order the book in any kind of significant quantity, meaning that many customers are aware of its existence.

Ladies and gentlemen, 'Marvel Saga' needs your help. It needs you to convince your local comics shop (or online retailer) to order a copy for you to purchase, and it needs it today. The very existence of an 'Essential Marvel Saga Volume Two' depends on your decision to spend 12-15 dollars (depending on what kind of discount you can get) on this book.

Why should you buy 'The Essential Marvel Saga'? If you have any interest in researching comics, either personally or professionally, it's an extremely important piece of work. (Even, yes, essential.) It's the only place, to my knowledge, where anyone attempted to explain exactly how the seminal events of the Marvel Universe fit together in a chronology, showing what was going on with the X-Men while the Fantastic Four were fighting Doctor Doom for the first time, detailing exactly when the Amazing Spider-Man had his show-business career, and so on. It is, of course, a document of its time, and some of its continuity points have since been retconned (for example, in issue 12 it says Bucky died in World War II), but it still retains huge amounts of very useful information.

It also presents this information in a clear, accessible fashion, by using actual panels from these classic comics interspersed with bridging text. So instead of just saying, "Then they formed the Avengers," it actually shows the panel of the team uniting for the first time. This makes it more entertaining to read than a simple history, and also functions as a nice abridged version of many classic Marvel stories, omitting the occasional silly moment. (For example, the 'Marvel Saga' version of the Fantastic Four's first encounter with the Skrulls uses text to gloss over the fact that according to Stan Lee, Skrulls couldn't tell the difference between photographs and Jack Kirby's artwork.) If you're someone who can't take "uncut" Silver Age comics, this provides a version you can stomach that still gives you all the classic moments.

It also features all of the extremely nice wrap-around covers for each issue ('Marvel Saga' had no ads in its original run, which meant wrap-around covers...and, incidentally, is why the 'Essential' only collects twelve issues.)

Most importantly, the more people who order 'Volume One', the greater the chance of seeing a 'Volume Two', and I really want 'Volume Two'. And, of course, I'm a tremendously egotistical person.

So think about buying 'The Essential Marvel Saga Volume One', won't you? If you were for sale, I'm sure it would buy you.


Austin Gorton said...

I have all the original issues, and I'm still going to buy this book (mine's on order).

I didn't realize they didn't fit everything into one volume. It's been awhile since I went through the issues, but I remember it being less than 24 issues long so I assumed they could fit everything into one volume-not remembering they were extra long issues.

What a great series. I'd LOVE to see something similiar done today (and really, every ten years or so) similar to the revival of the official handbook. But since "continuity" seems to be such a dirty word nowadays, we'll probably never see it...

Anonymous said...

DC did it right before Infinite Crisis. Just a short, recap/jump on point before the preceding miniseries' started. I think it was like $6 or $7, square-bound on crummy newsprint (1: just like the collected Batman: Death in the Family I've had since I was 11, and 2: I don't care what kind of paper they use).

For my money, that book was the best thing to come out of Infinite Crisis.

I could go for one of those every 5 or 10 years as well, though I think I'd wind up not buying monthlies, picking that up, and using it to determine what TPBs to buy.

hilker said...

Amazon has a listing for Essential Marvel Saga Volume 2, with a December 24 release date.